Article Overview

Timeline Delivers Purpose Built Ultra HD 4K Outside Broadcast Truck

BT Sport Awards Four-Year Contract to Timeline for 4K OB Provision

Timeline, a major provider of outside broadcast, post production, and studio-based services for all major UK networks, has designed and built the first purpose built Ultra HD (UHD) 4K outside broadcast unit in the Europe.  In conjunction with BT Sport this represents a significant investment in this brand new technology.


BT Sport has awarded Timeline a four-year contract for the provision of Ultra HD 4K OB’s to complement their extensive HD program portfolio. BT Sport will be launching a new BT Sport Ultra HD channel in August with the first UHD broadcast being the Community Shield.  UHD events will be broadcast throughout the year, each week, and will include UEFA Champions League, Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Driven by the demand for production of UHD 4K content by broadcasters, initially being driven by BT Sport, the unit will launch in August and be available for hire for both sporting events and other production genres such as the arts, entertainment and natural history when not in use by BT Sport.


This cutting edge OB unit, built by Timeline’s SI division, is designed from the ground up to deliver UHD 4K programs to the same high standard as current HD programs for complex live or as live production.  BT Sport and Timeline worked with all suppliers to ensure delivery of the latest innovative UHD 4K technology including:
-          Worlds first Sony HDC-4300 2/3 inch UHD 4K cameras
-          Sony UHD 4K PWS-4400 server
-          Worlds first Fujinon UHD 4k 2/3 inch 80:1 box and 22:1 ENG lenses
-          Snell Kahuna UHD 4K vision mixer and Sirius router
-          Axon signal processing equipment & Axon Cerebrum control system
-          EVS XT3 UHD 4K servers
-          Grass Valley Kaleido-Modular-X multiviewers & Belden cable

Dan McDonnell, Managing Director of Timeline, said: “Timeline has always been at the forefront of technology and UltraHD  is the cutting edge.  The challenge of this emerging standard has been to work with manufacturers to find solutions to enable UHD productions to be made to the same high standards as HD programs.  I am pleased to strengthen our long relationship with BT Sport by supplying UHD 4K OB services.“


Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer, BT Sport and BT TV, said: “BT Sport’s UEFA Champions League coverage sets out to bring viewers the best ever experience of football’s leading club competition. Our Ultra HD coverage of the UEFA Champions League alongside other competitions will bring a truly cinematic experience into fans living rooms.”

Key technology in the truck

Sony cameras
To ensure the highest quality of live 4K images possible, Timeline invested in twelve of Sony’s cutting edge HDC-4300 4K/HD live production cameras. The world’s first 2/3-inch 4K imaging device was designed specifically for the sports broadcast market and studio productions, and will bring incredible flexibility to Timeline’s live productions, with the capability to shoot in HD, 4K, and up to 8x super slow motion HD footage. It also supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) and the next-generation ITU-R BT.2020 colour gamut, enabling more precise colour reproduction for vibrant live broadcasts. Supporting the standard industry B4 lens mount, the camera is also fully compatible with a comprehensive range of other products and workflows, allowing it to easily slot into existing live production environments.


Underpinning its commitment to 4K live production, Timeline has also invested in a Sony PWS-4400 4K server chain and PVM-X300 4K monitor. With flexibility as its core, the PWS-4400 features a versatile I/O configuration, handles multiple formats, and is capable of supporting simultaneous 4K and HD recording. The 30-inch PVM X300 4K LCD monitor incorporates Sony's TRIMASTER™ technology, enabling fantastic colour reproduction, and fits perfectly within a live 4K environment. 

The first 4K live production captured by Timeline’s new cameras was the rugby union Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham stadium, on Saturday 30th May. The clash between Bath and Saracens was shot in stunning 4K using Timeline’s HDC-4300s, as well as two additional Sony PMW-F55s.

Timeline UHD1


Fujinon - World’s first 2/3” 4K U-HDTV Broadcast Zoom Lenses
The all new UA80x9 and UA22x8 broadcast zoom lenses have been designed to complement 4K UHD cameras. Using cutting-edge optical technology, the lenses achieve an impressive focal length from 9mm in wide angle to 1440mm for the EFP Box type UA80x9 lens; and 8mm to 352mm for the ENG type UA22x8 model. The UA80x9 features a unique “optical stabilization mechanism” that provides optimum optical adjustment to image shakes caused by vibrations and wind, making it an essential tool and excellent choice in the live coverage of sporting events and concerts.

The “floating focus system”, which controls multiple lens groups according to the shooting distance, delivers high-resolution and high-contrast images from close-up to infinity, enabling 4K video production with a high realistic sensation, wide dynamic range and premium picture quality. This is achieved by Fujifilm’s proprietary multi-layer coating processing “High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating (HT-EBC)” is applied to the lens for enhanced transmittance and color reproduction. The ground breaking new lenses where awarded the NAB 2015 innovation award, joining an already impressive array of accolades including the prestigious “Emmy Award” for outstanding technological developments, the “IF Design Award” and “Red Dot Design Award”. Historically - Fujinon broadcast & cine lens technology has repeatedly set the benchmark in the evolution of optical technology.


Snell – Kahuna Vision Mixer and Sirius Router
The vision mixer chosen by Timeline is the Snell Kahuna 9600 mainframe with 4M/Es, driven from a Maverik control panel, configurable to meet the exact needs of the Director and Vision Mixer. The Kahuna delivers powerful UHD 4K capability – six layers per M/E. Snell FormatFusion3 technology enables the Kahuna to handle HD and UHD 4K Level A and B inputs and outputs simultaneously in real-time. Its on-board UHD 4K clipstore integrates branding capabilities, eliminating the need for external graphics devices. In addition, the units routing requirements are handled by a Snell Sirius 840 router with Advanced Hybrid Processing, enabling channels to be handled, processed and controlled independently.

Axon Signal Processing equipment and Control System
In order to facilitate UHD 4K productions Axon Digital Design, supplier of the signal processing equipment in the unit, developed in close cooperation with BT Sport and Timeline the U4T100 and U4T140 modules. Both modules are part of Axon’s signal processing product line Synapse. These modules provide broadcasters with a UHD 4K 4 wire toolbox ( U4T140 supports optional Dolby E processing). These toolboxes are developed to ease the challenges of a 4 wire production setup where the left top corner (channel A) is used to carry VANC and HANC data. In order to accommodate 4K signal distribution Axon also developed the GDR416 for this truck. Other 4K Synapse modules involved in the productions are 4K up converters and 4K down converters. All other Synapse video processing units supplied are capable of handling 3Gb/s signals. A number of these video processing modules have been executed with fiber enabled I/O-panels which enable the conversion from video to fiber without the need of additional equipment. To handle Dolby © requirements in the truck Axon supplied the Synapse DEE28 which is a multi-format Dolby stream decoder and Dolby E encoder and voice over module.


The control & monitoring system in the truck providing control and configuration of router, Multiviewers, tally and glue is accomplished using Axon’s acclaimed monitoring & control software Cerebrum. Cerebrum is a Windows-based system whose advanced functionality and broad range of features simplify multi device monitoring and control onto one easy-to-use interface.

Grass Valley Kaleido-Modular-X Multiviewers and Belden Cable
Kaleido-Modular-X is a flexible and scalable UHD 4K multiviewer for TV production that's optimized for the space, power and weight considerations found in studios and outside broadcast trucks. Modular design allows for easy configuration to desired I/O size.

Unique FlexBridge coax cable bridging between the input and output modules allows for the installation of the input stage next to the router or sources — and the output stage next to displays — for simpler, cost-effective cabling installation with none of the risk associated with HDMI extenders.

Split input and output modular system offers scalability both on the input and output side for future-proofing your investments as production needs increase. With space at a premium and the ever-present need to reduce overall weight in your production trucks, Kaleido-Modular-X offers the ideal multiviewer solution.

EVS XT3 fast-turnaround live production servers
The OB unit is installed with three UHD-enabled EVS XT3 live production servers. EVS is the leading provider of live production solutions and the XT3 enables complete media control from ingest to playout.

In 4K mode the three servers allow Timeline up to nine channels of UHD highlights, replays and playback feeds. Each XT3 is configurable depending on the specific production’s needs. A server can be set to continuously record two 4K cameras while simultaneously providing UHD instant replays or all nine feeds can be used for highlight and replay production in the higher resolution.

The Timeline OB unit benefits from the flexibility of the XT3 which allows reliable and efficient enrichment of live content production.

About BT
BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world.  It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.
For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.